Friday, June 6, 2014

Futurist Friday: Robotic Emoticons

I will be writing soon about CFM's experiments with robots (telepresence robots and drones) at the annual meeting in Seattle last month. Spoiler alert: some people found our robot guests charming, others were more than a bit creeped out. 

People react positively to other people, and to things that obviously exaggerate or parody human characteristics, (Like anime figures with their huge, cute eyes.) But between those two extremes lies the "Uncanny Valley"--a dip in our emotional response to things that are just slightly off. 

Some people envision robots of the future as being flawlessly human. But the "Valley" effect means that falling even a little short of that goal can result in a robot that triggers fear or revulsion. So many more roboticists are shooting for "cute and non-threatening."

Your Futurist Friday assignment: watch the short videos embedded in this post, and rank your emotional reactions to each robot. Which ones do you find generate the most positive emotions? Can you identify what features trigger your response?

Read more about ERWIN and other "emotional robots" on Activist Post.

Kismet, from MIT

Nao, from Notre Dame, is designed to assist kids with autism

Jules, from the prolific workshop of Hanson Robotics

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